Troilus and Cressida

William Shakespeare wrote a play about the Trojan War.  Well, that’s just awesome.   So why is it never performed that often? You know, the ancient pseudo-mythical decade-long conflict that even rivals World War II in pop culture.  Even if you never read Homer’s Iliad or Virgil’s Aeneid, you know the general story.  But the details … Continue reading

Two Noble Kinsmen

It is fairly accepted among scholars that Shakespeare collaborated with John Fletcher on two plays: King Henry VIII,  and Two Noble Kinsmen.  Considering that the former play was one of the worst plays  have ever read, ever, I did not have high hopes for 2NK (as I like to call it).  It was not included in the … Continue reading

The Merchant of Venice

So, remember when Two Gentlemen of Verona had a fairly nonchalant stance on rape?  Well, Merchant of Venice has a similar problem with anti-Semetism.  However, Merchant has two incredibly fascinating and therefore redeeming characters: Shylock, the Jewish villain of the play, and Portia, one of Shakespeare’s best female characters ever.  Yeah, she’s racist, which is … Continue reading

All’s Well That Ends Well

Yeah, that noncommittal title pretty much sums up all of the urgency and excitement of this fairly obscure comedy.  It’s sad, because there are plenty of redeeming moments that are actually pretty fantastic.  But really there isn’t much happening here.  Even when the threat of death is suddenly imminent, these characters are far more concerned … Continue reading

Antony and Cleopatra

Too many times, when somebody talks about doing a Shakespeare play, they use the phrase “it’s really difficult.” And to be fair, Shakespeare is always difficult. You need a lot of skill and dedication to perform any of these plays effectively so a modern audience understands and cares about the story. So I usually think … Continue reading

Coriolanus

As it turns out, if Arnold Schwarzenegger ever performed in Shakespeare, he should play Coriolanus (not Hamlet, as previously thought). In scene I.iv, Cauius Marcius enters the gates of Corioli during the enemy’s retreat, and pretty much single-handedly takes the city.  This feat of military bravery is so insane that the Romans start referring to … Continue reading

Timon of Athens

What, you haven’t heard of this play?  At all?  Yeah, that’s not suprising.  I bet you want to pronounce it Timone of Athens, too. Well, friends, this obscure play is about a popular Athenian socialite who suddenly falls into debt and subsequently loses all of his friends.  Or rather – he descends into debt by … Continue reading

Pericles

What a ridiculous play.  And I mean that in the best way possible.  But it is also a weird play, and that is probably why you have never heard of it. Thematically, I actually think it was a good follow-up to the existential crisis that is Taming of the Shrew.  But towards the end there, Shakespeare just … Continue reading

Taming of the Shrew

My focus for this week’s entry is: What the hell is the point of that Induction? Seriously, what is the point of the first few scenes in this play?  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s probably because most productions simply cut out the first two scenes of this play, and the story … Continue reading

Much Ado About Nothing

Something strange happened when I was making this post. Somehow, when I got to the end of my writing – the very end – everything got deleted. Inexplicable. Nevertheless, I now hate this play with a burning passion, merely because of that technical mishap. Fucking hate it. Before, I only disliked it. But now you … Continue reading